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Assistance Dog Placement and Follow-Up Support for Three Candidates with Spinal Cord Injury

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 30 K
Funding amount
Canine Companions for Independence is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides expertly-trained assistance dogs to people disabilities, as well as the ongoing support to ensure these partnerships prosper. The dog, training, and follow-up services are provided free of charge to the recipient. Spinal cord injuries are a core placement for Canine Companions assistance dogs and annually we serve more than 40 active graduates with spinal cord injuries in the Southwest Region. Currently there are six candidates with spinal cord injury on the wait list to receive their life-changing partner. We are respectfully requesting $30,000 to fund Team Training and follow-up for three of these candidates with spinal cord injury waiting to be matched with an assistance dog in 2019-2020.

Team Training is the two-week intensive course that each recipient goes through to be matched with their new assistance dog and learn to work together as a team. After completing an extensive application and interview process, candidates can wait for several months or longer for the right dog for their needs, lifestyle and personality. Once a candidate is invited to Team Training, they reside on the Southwest Regional campus in Oceanside, California and meet six days a week to learn about canine behavior, care and handling skills, and the 40+ commands that their future partners already know. Each class is led by our professional instructors, who match each student with the assistance dog that best meets the recipient’s needs.

The goal for Team Training is a successful placement. We count each team placement as one unit of service. Numbers, however, can be deceiving. One single Canine Companions unit of service is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for approximately 10 years. A successful match is one in which the recipient is able to take advantage of new opportunities that may not have been feasible before having an assistance dog and have an increase in personal interactions in the community. Another indication of a successful match is a reduced number of caretaker hours needed by recipients. These objectives are measured during follow-up reports and visits.

Many assistive technologies are available to support people with spinal cord injuries to live a more independent life. Ours comes with a cold nose and a warm heart. Assistance dogs make a radical difference in the well-being of children and adults with spinal cord injuries through their ability to aid with tasks of daily living, like picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off. They create social bridges that provide opportunities for greater understanding of people with disabilities. This powerful human/canine relationship leads to increased independence, self-esteem and inclusion for a person with a disability.
(CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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    1117 Public Health and Health Services

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Injury - Trauma - (Head and Spine)

  • RCDC


  • RCDC


  • RCDC

    Spinal Cord Injury

  • RCDC

    Behavioral and Social Science

  • RCDC